Dagger Vs. Short Sword

6 Key Differences Between Dagger Vs. Short Sword- Which Is The Best Weapon?

While there are so many lethal self-defense weapons, a dagger and short sword are some of the most popular options. This is perhaps because both tools are convenient to handle and effective to use in limited spaces. But are there any differences between a dagger vs. short sword?

Yes. One of the key differences between a dagger and a short sword is their size and weight. Of course, a dagger is smaller and lighter than a short sword. Other differences lie in their blade design, function, and cost. These two weapons also differ in their ease of concealment.

Want to know more? Check out our in-depth guide about how a dagger compares to a short sword and which makes a better weapon. 

Differences Between A Dagger and Short Sword Comparison Table

Differences Between A Dagger and Short Sword

Here is a quick summary of the features that set a dagger apart from a short sword before going deeper into the article. 

FeaturesDaggerShort Sword
Blade Size5 to 12 inches long12 to 24 inches long
Weight0.9 to 1.2 pounds2.0 to 4.0 pounds
FunctionStabbing, thrusting, piercing, and close combat.Stabbing, slicing, and cutting.
Blade DesignShort, single, or double-edged with a sharp spear point.Long, double-edged that is slightly curved at the tip or straight.
MaterialBone, ivory, flint, iron, or copper alloy blade. Wooden handles. (Ancient times)Copper, bronze, or iron blade. Wooden handle covered in leather or fabric. (Ancient times)
Steel metals, ceramic, or titanium blade, Aluminum handle. (Modern times)Steel blades like high-carbon steel and Dmascus, Wooden or metallic handles. (Modern times)

What Are the Differences Between A Dagger Vs. Short Sword? In-Depth Comparison

A dagger is a short knife, while a short sword is a more miniature sword than an original sword, as the name suggests. Below we will look at their key differences in every aspect. 

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1. Size

You can find a dagger in various sizes based on your preferences. However, a dagger’s average blade length ranges from 5 to 12 inches. It is relatively shorter than your forearm from the elbow to the fingertips.


Meanwhile, a short sword features a blade length ranging between 12 and 24 inches long. Anything shorter than 12 inches is a dagger or big knife. However, a short sword is your entire arm at maximum.

2. Average Weight

When it comes to weight, a dagger weighs between 0.9 and 1.2 pounds, depending on its size. This means a 12-inch-long blade is heavier than its 5-inch-long counterpart.

A short sword comes with a smaller hilt compared to a standard blade. Its shorter length also makes it relatively light, weighing between 2.0 and 4.0 pounds. So, despite its smaller size than a typical sword, a short blade is still heavier than a dagger.

3. Function

A dagger is more of a stabbing weapon. You can also use it for thrusting, piercing, and close combat confrontations.

On the other hand, a short sword can do three things well: stabbing, slicing, and cutting. In addition, a short sword is better at blocking an attack than a dagger and is more easily used in close quarters.

Short Sword

Basically, anything a dagger can do, the short sword can also do it. However, there are certain things a short sword can do well that the dagger cannot, like cutting.

4. Blade Design

The blade of a dagger is double-edged, with both sides sharpened. It also has a sharp tapered tip or spear-like point. However, historical daggers were sometimes single-edged.


Similar to a dagger, a short sword also has a double-edged blade. However, the edge can be straight or slightly curved at the tip. Also, the blade is tapered from the hilt to the end instead of just the tip, like with a dagger.

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5. Concealment

A dagger is not only lighter in weight than a short sword but also small. Depending on the size, it could easily fit in your backpack, purse, or even pocket. For this reason, you can even carry multiple daggers without provoking any suspicion.

However, a short sword is long and challenging to conceal. You can only hide it in plain sight. For example, you could cover it in something that appears to be a violin case or a photographic tripod.

6. Cost

Generally, a dagger is cheaper than a short sword, regardless of the size. For as low as $13, you can get a blade. Higher-quality options go for around $40 and $300.

Short Sword

On the other hand, the price of a good quality short sword starts from around $90. And most options with a Japanese touch cost between $250 and $500. 

7. Material

During ancient times, dagger’s blades were made of bone, flint, copper alloy, iron, or ivory and the handles from wood. Today, daggers are constructed of different steel metals, ceramic or titanium. However, the handles are aluminum-anodized. 

Conversely, the first short swords had blades made out of bronze, iron, or copper. As for the handles, they were constructed from wood and covered in fabric or leather. 

Today, the blades of short swords are made of steel materials like high-carbon steel and Damascus. On the other hand, the handles may be wooden or metallic.

Which Is Better: A Dagger Or A Short Sword?

Both are great self-defense tools since you can use them together. The short sword is best used as a primary weapon, while the dagger is a secondary weapon.

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However, a dagger offers many advantages over a short sword. For instance, it is easier to conceal because of its smaller size. In addition, it is cheaper, making it easier to replace if it is confiscated. On top of that, most daggers are balanced for throwing during combat confrontations.

Which Is Better: A Dagger Or A Short Sword

That said, you should get a short sword if you need a weapon capable of delivering more powerful blows with less effort. Its heavier weight than that of a dagger makes it cut, thrust, or stab with minimal effort. 


Below, we will respond to commonly asked queries regarding the dagger vs. short sword differences.

Is a dagger a small sword?

No. A dagger is a short stabbing or fighting knife. It is not a tiny sword because its blade length ranges between 5 and 12 inches long and is slightly narrow. On the other hand, the blade of a small sword measures between 12 and 24 inches and is relatively wide.

Are there any similarities between a dagger and a short sword?

Yes. For instance, the blade of both weapons is made of steel materials. In addition, you can get both tools in a double-edged blade design. Also, you can use the two for self-defense since they can thrust and even stub.

Can a dagger fight a short sword?

Yes. However, you would have to get within reach of the person with the short sword. Simply, if you have a dagger, you can only fight a person with a short sword when in grappling range. 


A dagger and a short sword have few things in common. This is apart from the fact that they are excellent defense weapons made from steel materials. These two tools differ in size and weight, with the short sword being more prominent and heavier. They also have different blade designs and functionality.

That said, a dagger is a better choice overall because it is more affordable and common. Also, it is easier to carry around and conceal from everyone’s eyes. Not to mention, it can be thrown. But in terms of thrusting, slicing, and cutting power, the short sword is the winner. 

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